Intro – what a palava!

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India.  Hmmm.  After visiting Delhi for work back in 2007, India never really appealed to visit so never appeared on the agenda.  I recall it being very uncomfortable, lots of begging, kids, dirt and just not a very nice and comfortable experience.  Whether this was down to it being a work trip; or the fact I lost half a stone in a week shaking on the bathroom floor for hours; or the fact in those days I was too inexperienced a traveller to enjoy it – who knows.  Regardless, I was put off….

But due to Mel having mobility issues ruling out many options, we wanted adventure where limited mobility would not be a problem – and google found me a “Rickshaw Challenge” which involved driving our own rickshaw more than 1000km across southern India.  This appealed as it meant we could visit “things” under our own steam and not need to walk far.  So we paid our deposit in April for December departure…

Then, Mel had the option of an operation on her foot at the end of September knowing it would be worse after the op, and potentially 3-6-12mth heal time and no guarantee of improvement.  Of course we said yes but by mid December mobility was low and it wasn’t even 50% chance that we’d be able to go as mobility and post op pain was worse….

Visas were also an issue – India stopped eVisas for all during COVID, then post COVID then enabled them again for all except UK and Canada.  We left it as long as we dare, and then had to go to a London Indian Mission, jump through 1001 hoops, and eventually after £300 got our Visas by early December. Then, a week later, the eVisa was reinstated @ £25…..  ARGH!!!!!

Post the rickshaw challenge dates, mobility was still a concern, so following on we booked a personalised “tour” of Kerala with a random company recommended on TripAdvisor who organised a 9 day tour with transport and our own car/driver when needed for the duration, and we then paid our deposits to an unknown Indian person on the internet…!

The penultimate issue was we had to fly out on Boxing day from LHR T5 – but as it was bank holiday, and no busses/trains or anything – getting to T5 was a royal PITA.  We had planned a way but it had no margin for error, so very grateful to pull a favour in from the parents….

And the final issue – every man and his dog, border guards etc, went on strike….

As the likelihood of going was low, we didn’t really do much planning or research or anything, packed only a couple of days before and kept our fingers crossed….


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